Good Afternoon,

This is perfect weather for staying inside and watching the football playoffs.  I look forward to meeting many of you this week at the WASB Convention.  Please stop by the WiRSA Booth (#736) and say hi.

Thank You: I want to say thank you to the following members who provided verbal testimony against SB 355, last Thursday.  Mike Richie of Northland Pines, Bruce Quinton of Pepin, Ron Walsh of Elk Mound, Doug Mering of Baraboo and Duane Moseley of Montello did a great job of explaining the importance of referendum flexibility in school funding and how damaging SB355 would be.  Attached is the written testimony submitted by WiRSA.

Congratulations: The following member elementary schools were recently recognized as Blue Ribbon Elementary Schools – Marengo Elementary in Ashland and Oconto Falls Elementary.

New WiRSA Website is Live: Checkout the new WiRSA Website

Thank you to Margaret Brill and her staff at UW-Oshkosh for their work on this project.

WiRSA Board of Directors Meeting Rescheduled:

Due to a family emergency, the WiRSA Board of Directors has been rescheduled for January 26th in Stevens Point at 10:00 am in the Amber Grill.

Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, helps farmers positively impact their communities by supporting local school districts. The program gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a rural public school district in their community to compete for merit-based grants of either $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance math and/or science education. Farmer nominations for the 2016 program will be accepted from January 1 to April 1, 2016. Please visit

Rural Trust’s Global Teacher Fellowship: Up to 25 fellowships will be awarded in 2016 to support the professional and personal development of rural teachers. The awards, up to $5,000 for individual teachers and $10,000 for a team of two or more teachers, support teachers’ participation in self-designed summer learning experiences and a two-day place-based learning institute in the fall. Teachers are encouraged to center their learning in an international travel and study experience, out of which they develop interdisciplinary, place-based learning curricula aligned with their specific state and local content standards. Eligibility: Any K–12 teacher working full-time and teaching at least 60% time in a rural community can apply for the fellowship. Counselors, media specialists and other school personnel working in a teaching setting for at least 60% of their paid work time may also apply. Each applicant must have 4 years teaching experience by the fellowship start date. click here

Morgridge Discovery Summer Science Camps: The Morgridge Institute for Research is excited to announce the ninth annual Summer Science Camp for students and teachers from rural Wisconsin high schools.

There will be two offerings for the Summer Science Camp in the Discovery Building, located on UW Madison’s campus, on July 11-14 and July 25-28, 2016. One teacher will select and accompany five students for the camp, and each camp will host five schools. This experience includes lectures and lab activities from leading researchers in the interdisciplinary field of regenerative biology. The four-day camp will include overnight stays in the dormitories of UW-Madison and evening activities. Thanks to the generosity of the Madison Community Foundation, the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Melita Grunow, and Fritz Fischer, we are pleased to offer this camp at no cost to participants. Teachers are responsible for facilitating transport to and from Madison as well as accompanying the students in the dorms and through the activities during the four-day camp.

Teachers who would like to participate in the camp and bring students are invited to complete the following sign up hereThe deadline for signups is Monday, March 2, 2016.

Events from this Past Week:

  • January 11: Weekly Educ Issues call.
  • January 14: Attended Senate Committee Hearing on SB 355 (referendum) – Opposed
  • January 14: 
  • Attended  Assembly Education Hearing:

AB 488 (Absence/Disability)

AB 664  (Mental Hlth)- Supported

AB 665 (Robotics Grant) – Supported

        and Executive Session Hearing:

AB 581 (Alt. Lic)

AB 517 (Reporting Crimes)

AB 602 (Parental Choice Accrediting)

 Events for the Upcoming Week:

  • January 18: Weekly Educ Issues call.
  • January 19: Meeting with CESA Directors @ CESA 1 in Pewaukee.
  • January 19-22: WASB Booth and I will be presenting on voucher impact on Thursday afternoon.
  • January 22: Meeting to discuss changing the language in the present law that limits retired teachers on the number of hours they can sub and the 75-day waiting period.

 Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders:

  • Monsanto Fund  – Growing Ag leaders Scholarship (Nov. 15-Feb. 1)
  • Monsanto Fund .  – Farmers Grow Rural Education ( 1, 2016 toApril 1, 2016)
  • 2016 Conference Save the Date: November 9-10 in Stevens Point. 

Have a great week.